Dog Days (unrated)
Directed by Ulrich Seidl
Winner of the Grand Special Jury Prize at the 2001 Venice Film Festival, Austrian director Ulrich Seidl's "strangely entertaining first feature" (The Los Angeles Times) shows everyday people leading extravagantly sordid lives. Through six intertwined narratives, Dog Days plunges headlong into a disturbing yet moving world of near medieval passion and cruelty that exists beneath the sun-bleached surface of a modern community of cookie-cutter
Crisscrossing a suburban landscape of a bright starkness that succeeds in "bringing together Francis Bacon and David Hockney" (The New York Times), a seemingly disturbed hitchhiker compulsively quizzes her drivers on the most banal and personal subjects. "I"m not too lazy to eat," insists one of the hitcher"s corpulent benefactors, and it's this sincerely oddball morality that graces each of Dog Days's tableaus. In the tomblike quiet of their ranch-style purgatory, a divorced husband and wife fight a wordless war while mourning an unspeakable mutual loss. A sadistic lover"s ritual humiliation spawns both tenderness and revenge. Everyone in Dog Days teeters on the edge of both self-made oblivion and accidental redemption.
Dubbed "a brilliant chronicler of the hell of everyday life" (The Chicago Tribune), Seidl spent three summers shooting Dog Days only in temperatures above 98.6 degrees Farenheit. The film's gallery of cloistered emotional grotesques, played mostly by non-actors, sustains a unique mixture of documentary-like intimacy and even-handed compassion, yielding "such remarkable filmmaking, that it compels admiration" (The Guardian).
"(four stars) Extraordinary feature debut. A brilliant filmmaker! - Michael Wilmington, The Chicago Tribune
"Sex and angst flavor Seidl's strangely entertaining first feature" - Manohla Dargis, The Los Angeles Times
"A triumph! Rich with memorable moments and extraordinary characters." - Film Comment
"One of the year"s 10 Best" - The S. F. Bay Guardian
Grand Special Jury Prize Venice International Film Festival
Official Selection Toronto International Film Festival